Femi Falana (SAN), has called the N5m fine on Nigeria Info 99.3 FM, a Lagos-based radio station by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) illegal.
Falana, a Human Rights Lawyer said this in a statement he personally signed. He asked why the NBC will be in a hurry to fine the radio station and violate the broadcast firm’s fundamental right.
According to him, only a competent court of law that has the right to impose fines on a criminal suspect after conducting a trial.
“Only a competent court of law is empowered to try, convict and impose a fine on a criminal suspect after a trial has been conducted before a competent court.
“In view of the fact that the imposition of the N5 million fine was anchored on a purported amendment of the Code and since the NBC lacks the legal competence to impose a fine on any broadcasting station without a finding of guilt by a properly constituted criminal court the NBC should suo mutu quash the illegal fine,” Falana said.
Falana added that: “Section 33 (4) of the Constitution provides that anyone charged with a criminal offence shall be tried before a competent court or tribunal.”
The NBC made it known that the fine was imposed on the radio station due to its unprofessional broadcast.
It explained that Nigeria Info was not professional in the handling of its morning show aired between 8.30 am and 9.00 am on Monday.
The NBC said that the station provided an avenue for its guest and a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Mailafia Obadiah, to promote “unverifiable and inciting views,” saying such could lead to public disorder.